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Handicapping The Race: Who Will Come to Aid of Red Wings?

Detroit needs help to make playoffs



Red Wings - Penguins

The Detroit Red Wings aren’t out of the race for the NHL’s second Eastern Conference wild card playoff spot. At the same time, to gain that position, they are going to need help.

The Red Wings are sitting with 85 points. That’s the same total as the Washington Capitals and Philadelphia Flyers. It’s one behind the Pittsburgh Penguins, holding down the second wild card placing with 86 points. Pittsburgh’s 6-5 overtime victory over Detroit on Thursday is currently the difference maker in this race.

“I know it doesn’t feel good right now but there’s still a path there,” Red Wings coach Derek Lalonde said.

Detroit, Pittsburgh and Washington each have three games to play. Philadelphia is down to two games on the club’s remaining ledger.

Another factor that’s problematic for the Red Wings is that they lose the first tiebreaker to every one of these teams. That’s regulation wins and Detroit has 27 of them. Philadelphia and Washington each have 29, while Pittsburgh owns 31.

What this means is that the Red Wings will need to be a point clear of any challenger in order to claim the posteason position.

Let’s look to the final week of the regular season as the Red Wings continue their chase for a playoff spot.

Detroit Red Wings (38-32-9, 85 points)

Remaining Games: Sat at Toronto, Monday vs Montreal, Tuesday at Montreal.

The Red Wings were 5-2 winners the last time they were the visitors in Toronto on Jan. 14. Former Leafs goalie James Reimer got the win that night. Might Lalonde look to him to again come through?

Detroit is 1-8-2 in the club’s past 11 road games. The Red Wings have also scored two or fewer goals in eight of 19 games since the beginning of March. They’ve been shutout four times during that span.

Pittsburgh Penguins (37-30-12, 86 points)

Remaining Games: Saturday vs Boston, Monday vs Nashville, Wednesday at New York Islanders.

Former Red Wings goalie Alex Nedeljkovic is 8-0-3 in his last 11 decisions for Pittsburgh. Penguins captain Sidney Crosby has points in 13 of his last 15 games overall, accumulating 25 points (9-16-25) in that span.

Thursday’s OT triumph was Pittsburgh’s ninth successive home-ice win (7-0-2) over the Red Wings. The Pens have outscored the Wings 47-22 in that span.

Washington Capitals (37-31-11, 85 points)

Remaining Games: Saturday at Tampa Bay, Monday vs Boston, Tuesday at Philadelphia.

The Capitals are 1-5-2 through their past eight games. The lone win was Tuesday at Detroit.

Washington simply isn’t scoring enough to sustain success. The Capitals have tallied two or fewer goals in each of the past eight games. They are averaging 1.75 goals per game over that span.

Philadelphia Flyers (37-32-10, 85 points)

Remaining Games: Saturday vs New Jersey, Tuesday vs Washington.

A 4-1 win over the New York Rangers on Thursday brought to a halt Philadelphia’s eight-game losing skid (0-6-2). Flyers forward Owen Tippett has 13 multi-point games this season. He has 15 points (6-9-15) in the last 15 games.

The good news is Philly finsihes with consecutive home games. On the other hand, the Flyers are just 3-3-2 over their past eight at home.

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Mike Babcock

No team will help the Red Wings.

How about winning our own games and not backing in?

Earning a playoff spot?


We’d rather brag about moral victories. 😬